Grace and Punishment

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 (ESV)

Paul, Silvanus [Silas], and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul gives thanks to God for the faith of the church in Thessalonica. He is very pleased and proud of the love they have for one another. Even though they are going through some persecution, they are holding steadfast to their faith, and to each other.

What are we doing in our church? Are we holding strong to the faith and to each other? Are we patiently enduring this time of trial—being limited in our ability to gather? I am pleased to say yes for the most part. It may be difficult for some people to make it to services, worried about the virus and all, but we will see the return to services soon.

Our small groups should continue to reach out to one another to ensure everyone is doing well. We need to ensure that we are helping one another if there are any needs that people have and need help. So contact those who are / were in your small groups, or if you were not a member of one, contact the church office if you need something, or if you would like to help others. We need to continue to care for one another and build each other up.

I look forward to seeing each of you soon. I appreciate those who have already been coming to our weekly service, and those in our small group.

Paul also reassured the Thessalonians that God would avenge them for the suffering being pushed on them in their persecutions. I do not envy those who persecute God’s church. The day of judgment will not be a pleasant thing for those who are not doing right.

We are truly blessed that God has given us the gift of absolution from our sins. But those who do not seek God’s mercy, and persecute His church will suffer His vengeance. Our job is to pass on the mercy God has given us. Make those that we know aware of the salvation offered through Jesus.

The cross is the power of God for salvation for those who accept it, but foolishness to those who are perishing. Jesus describes the coming judgment as the separation of the sheep from the goats. (see Matthew 25). Rejoice in Him, and help others to become His sheep.

by Virgil Stripes

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